Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

EYE ON AFRICA

Togo : will president Faure Gnassingbe win a third 5-year term ?

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Controversy reigns 100 years after the Armenian genocide

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

Migrant Deaths: Politicians Divided after Emergency EU Summit

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The G-Word: Turkey and the Armenian Genocide

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

What will the new French healthcare bill change?

Read more

#TECH 24

Space Special: Happy Birthday, Hubble!

Read more

FOCUS

Video: Meeting Marseille's Armenian community

Read more

REPORTERS

Saving French soldiers' WWI trench carvings

Read more

ENCORE!

Armenia, 100 years on

Read more

Europe

Switzerland narrowly votes to curb immigration

© AFP

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-02-10

Swiss voters have narrowly backed reintroducing strict immigration quotas, official results from a referendum on Sunday showed. The measure passed with around 50.3 percent of the vote, according to Swiss television station SRF.

Known as the initiative to “stop mass immigration” the referendum was put forth by the country’s right-wing Swiss people’s Party (SVP).

The referendum’s outcome threatens not only to hurt Switzerland’s economy, but also its relationship with the EU. Although it is not a member of the European Union, Switzerland’s immigration policy has granted EU citizens the right to move freely and work within its borders for the past 12 years.

In addition to calling into question Switzerland’s bilateral agreements with the EU, critics of the measure have argued that it will exacerbate a shortage of skilled workers in the country, which is the home of Roche, UBS, Nestle and other multinationals dependent on foreign professionals.

The European Commission said in a statement that it regretted the vote and would assess its bilateral ties with Switzerland.

"This goes against the principle of free movement of persons between the EU and Switzerland," the European Commission said. "The EU will examine the implications of this initiative on EU-Swiss relations as a whole."

Almost a quarter of the 8 million people living in Switzerland are foreigners. But Switzerland’s restrictive citizenship laws also mean many people who were born in the country or have lived there for a long time don’t have a Swiss passport, inflating the share of foreigners compared to other countries.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP, REUTERS)

Date created : 2014-02-09

  • SWITZERLAND - IMMIGRATION

    Switzerland votes on plan to cap immigration

    Read more

  • SWITZERLAND

    Swiss approve automatic expulsion of foreign criminals

    Read more

  • SWITZERLAND

    Swiss to vote on controversial law expelling foreign criminals

    Read more

COMMENT(S)